Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Minister Pay Hike - My 2 cents (i need a pay raise too!)

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Only last monday (which was about 24hrs ago) parliment voted on raising the ministers salary which more or less makes our top politicians one of the highest paid in the world.
Channelnews asia: PM, ministers to get pay rise of between 14% and 33%

There has been quite a bit of public outrage of this pay raise issue, after all its not often that people get such pay raise so often, in fact PM Lee is now set to make $3.1M after this revision. The most vocal of those who are against the pay raise stems from the internet with many political blogs and social blogs giving their 2cents (2cents! compared to a few millions our ministers make) worth of opinions. (Links at the bottom)

It might be too hasty to simply dismiss critics as disgruntled citizens who just cannot believe how much the ministers are making compared to say what most of us make. Just take me for example, I make -$10(yes a loss) a day on average for a school day, factoring in food, travelling random expenses. But on a more serious note, one can calculate that a minister makes about $5000 +++ a day depending on who he is (PM Lee is about $8500 a day), now compare this to your average income family, i am not talking about those whose parents are doctors, lawyers etc, they are a small percentage of the total population. From what i gather, 20% 0f the population has a MONTHLY salary of $1900.

While I do agree that due to the nature of the responsibility that our ministers do undertake, they should be compensated well, after all being in charge of a country with 4.5million citizen and a very vulnerable economy is no joke. But I am not entirely convinced that throwing another million at them would suddenly make everything even better. When it comes to governing, I think to it then just GDP, foreign reserves, trade which are the buzzwords being used in defense of the pay raise. Governing a country is not just about the bottom line, if not Singapore would be no more then a really big company... (Singapore Inc... sounds familar right?). After all, we have to take care of income inequality, ensuring all citizens (or at least most) have a proper roof over their head, social work for the less fortunate etc etc.. After all the public sector and private sector are 2 very different environments.

At the rate we are going and from the impression i get when i read the news articles about why the pay raise has to occur, it seems that Singapore is becoming a rather cold place, ruled by cold hard cash, pragmatism and performance. I guess it would be best to just ship all our old folks to batam, or we could reclaim a new island for that purpose, but personally, I detest the idea that we should be doing such things, many of the old folks did lay the foundation for this country.

Maybe I am just being idealistic here, but perhaps to be human is to be more then just about $$$, perhaps a little care, concern?

If this blog post does not make sense... well probably cos I posted this after doing exam preparation, you know how studying engineering actually fries your brain.

Mr Wang
Deep thoughts of a Singapore Critic
The New York Times

There are definitely more blogs about this issue out there. :p


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